Monday, April 9, 2012

VGB Relief

As many of you know, last September the CPSC voted to reinterpret the phrase “unblockable drain” under the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act) to no longer permit the use of unblockable drain covers to protect against entrapment in public pools using single drain systems. As I wrote several months ago, I believe that the decision by the majority of Commissioners was both ill-advised and unnecessary. To date, there have been no entrapment incidents in pools using drain covers compliant with the original interpretation of an unblockable drain. I remain firm in my belief that unblockable drain covers provide better protection against pool drain entrapment than the most commonly used (but widely criticized) back-up systems.

That said, however, last week a majority of Commissioners voted to provide some relief by extending until May 23, 2013, the time within which pool owners that installed unblockable drains in response to the prior interpretation are required to comply with the new interpretation. I appreciate that a majority of Commissioners were willing to invite comment from the public on the impact of the reinterpretation, and that a majority heard and responded to the calls for relief from communities and individuals across the nation.

Going forward, I am hopeful that by continuing to listen to those impacted by the Commission’s VGB Act regulations, the Commission will promote pool safety in a more effective, rational and efficient manner and revert back to the original interpretation which was both safer and more cost effective.

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